Finally the details and prices for the Pattaya to Hua Hin ferry service have been announced.
The service officially launches on 12th January 2017, and will operate from the Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya to Saphan Pla ( the main port in the centre of Hua Hin).
The Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry service is part of the Thai government's East-West Ferry Project, which aims to boost tourism between Chonburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.
For those who've been to Hua Hin in recent times, you'll know that Saphan Pla has recently undergone renovation and is in a much better state than it was a couple of years back. Decrepit is one word I would have used.
This service is being launched following a crackdown on business owners who had set up illegally on the beach at Saphan Pla. On the other side of the water, officials in Pattaya removed speed boats that had operated in Bali Hai Pier for more than a decade.
So, let's get into the details:
1.Who Will Be Operating the Pattaya to Hua Hin Ferry?
The service will be operated by the Royal Passenger Liner Co.
2. How Long Will the Journey Take?
The journey will take approximately 1.5 hours. The ferry service is expected to slash journey times between the two popular resorts by almost two thirds. However, this is known to be a choppy crossing, so expect it to be longer at times and potentially delays to occur during rainy season. A recent test run took near on 3 hours because of choppy seas.
3. How Much Will the Ferry Cost?
The fee will be 1,200 Baht each way. This is a lot more expensive than first expected. It is a bit of a shame really as pricing is clearly targeted at tourists, meaning local-wage earning Thais won't be able to take advantage of the service. Again, this gives rise to the dual pricing debate, in that should Thais who earn under a certain amount a month be able to get a concession?
4. What Times Will the Ferry Leave?
It is proposed that two services will run per day, the first departing Pattaya at 10.30 AM (arrives in Hua Hin at 12.30 PM), and the second departing Hua Hin at 13:30 (arrives in Pattaya at 3.30 PM).
5. How Many Passengers Will the Ferry Hold?
The service will launch one ferry that carries 150 passengers. If the route proves popular, another ferry will be introduced that carries 262 passengers. The ferry will not initially take cars, though this is a future consideration.
6. How Fast Will the Ferry Go?
The ferry will cruise at a speed of around 27 knots during the 113km journey.
7. What Does the Ferry Look Like?
8. Where Can I Buy Tickets Online?
Tickets will be available here when released for online sale, which will save queuing up, or worse, getting turned away from a full ship!
For now though the only tickets from Pattaya to Hua Hin you can buy are the VIP bus tickets. The journey takes 5 hours 30 minutes and costs 435 Baht per person (very cheap). If you'd rather go for that option, grab your ticket here.
9. Does the Company Have a Website
Strangely, no. Well at least not to date. Instead, latest updates can be found on their Facebook page
The TTL Take…
What are my thoughts on this? I think it is long overdue and can only think it was the illegal businesses on each pier that were stopping this getting going before.
I think running a ferry from Pattaya to Hua Hin is going to make a massive difference for tourism on both sides of the water.
Those who love some downtime in sleepy Hua Hin can now mix up their holiday with a few wild nights in Pattaya, and or some time on Jontiem Beach or other beach in Chonburi, and vice versa.
It is pricey though. Initially speculation was that tickets would be 400-600 Baht each way, but at 2,400 Baht per person for a return ticket it's not cheap compared with a minivan journey that costs 500 Baht. That said, it is now rumoured that a prices reduction is being consider.
But arguably it's safer than a ride in a minivan. It cuts journey time down by a third too. It's not a trip you'd pay to do on a weekly basis, but as a treat, or as part of a holiday, it's a positive addition to Thailand's tourism industry.